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Jun 21, 2022

Colombia gets leftist President

Foreign Affairs News Correspondent
Colombia's President elect Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego
Colombia’s President elect Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego

Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego won Colombia’s Presidential post in an election held on June 19 Sunday.

Besides being an economist, politician, senator, Petro Urrego was a former guerrilla fighter (now-defunct M-19 guerrilla movement) and first leftist leader to elect in the President of Colombia after defeating a businessman Rodolfo Hernández Suárez in the second round of the 2022 Colombian presidential election.

After failing two times, the president-elect 62-year-old Petro succeeded in his third attempt to win the presidency, and assumed office on August 7 along with his running mate, Ms. Francia Marquez.

Petro has also served as a senator and Colombian capital city Bogotá mayor.

Also, a 40-year-old Afro-Colombian human-rights and environmental activist and lawyer Ms. Francia Elena Márquez Mina is elected to the Vice-Presidential post. She will be the country’s first Black woman to reach up to that highest post ever.

Vice-President elect Ms. Francia Elena Márquez Mina

According to Colombia’s election office, Petro gained 50.4% against 47.3% for Hernandez.

While addressing in Bogota in a victory rally Petro said “Real change is coming for another Colombia.”

Diplomatic community believes that as Colombia gets leftist president for the first time Petro-Government’s relationship with other nations could be shaky.

It is noted that other Latin American nations including Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela have so far elected leftist leaders at various times, but for Colombia it is the first time.

Colombia is situated in South America with an insular region in North America bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the north, Venezuela to the east, Brazil to the southeast, Ecuador and Peru to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west and Panama to the northwest.

In Colombia, crime rates remain high. Illegal armed groups and other criminal groups are heavily involved in the drugs trade and serious crime including kidnapping, money laundering and running extortion and prostitution rackets.

Colombia has been facing economic crisis and millions were sliding into poverty. Civil unrest leads as large numbers of Colombians went down to the streets protesting increased taxes, shortages of food and fuel.

Thus, the news president has a many big challenges that needs to be solved in the country.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has congratulated Colombian President-Elect Gustavo Petro on his election as President of the Republic of Colombia.

“US shared democratic values and pledged to further strengthen the 200-year U.S.-Colombia friendship to address climate change, improve public health, and advance inclusive economic opportunity,” Blinken said, adding “the United States’ steadfast commitment to the bilateral relationship.”